Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ban Vampire Conversion Therapy, Activists Demand   Leave a comment

RECKLESS? Devampirizing treatment shown in movie Near Dark is risky and unsanitary, critics charge

By C. Michael Forsyth

Activists are condemning a controversial form of conversion therapy that supposedly cures vampires!

Practitioners of the unorthodox technique—which involves total blood replacement via transfusion—claim that it has successfully restored dozens of bloodsuckers to normal. But critics charge that the practice is dangerous and they call the therapists little more than snake oil salesmen.

“These quacks are promoting a so-called cure that is scientifically unsound, ineffective and potentially lethal,” blasts Oliver Shursman, executive director of the American Blood Drinkers Association. 

“Many newly turned vampires are emotionally vulnerable, full of confusion and self-loathing. The last thing they need is some charlatan reinforcing the idea that there’s something ‘wrong’ with them and holding out false hope that they can be fixed.”

The trend is driven by Sanguivoriphobia, the irrational fear of and dislike for vampires, he says. “This is bigotry disguised as medicine.”

The therapy, which has not yet received FDA approval, is being carried out in at least six facilities located in Florida and Georgia. The units receive funding principally from evangelical churches and family values organizations. Four of the facilities operate under the banner Soul Restoration Centers and are owned by Dr. Budd Koarski of Tallahassee, FL, who is widely viewed as the father of the devampirizing movement.

Dr. Koarksi reveals he got the brainstorm eight years ago at a Halloween party after watching the movie Near Dark (1987) in which an old country veterinarian cures his son and the boy’s girlfriend of vampirism through transfusions.

“When I saw that scene, I was surprised because I’d never thought something so simple and obvious could work,” he explains. “It took some digging through obscure old books and articles on vampirism, but sure enough, I found that back in the Depression era, backwoods doctors in Louisiana used the technique to heal vampirism sufferers and return them to their families.”

Dr. Koarski claims that some 28 vampires have been successfully converted at his facilities alone since 2015.   

“These had been predators who were hopelessly stuck in the degrading vampire lifestyle, living like feral animals in squalid abandoned buildings and hunting at night,” he says. “Now they are healthy, productive members of society who walk around in daylight–and many even attend church regularly,” he says.

 “One man brought to us by family members had been living as a vampire since 1977. When he realized he had been liberated from this evil curse after so many decades, he wept tears of joy and hugged all the staff at the facility.”

OLD SCHOOL: Transfusions were used to combat vampirism outbreaks in the 1930s

However, critics say that the effects of introducing massive quantities of human blood to a vampire intravenously have not been adequately tested. And they point to a notorious 2011 incident in Mobile, Ala., where a vampire spontaneously combusted during a transfusion.

“Dr. Koarski is not a medical doctor or even a vet,” Shursman observes. “As I understand it, he has a Ph.D in music. He and his ilk have no business dispensing medical advice, let alone running medical facilities treating one of the most complex and little-understood conditions in the world.”

The  American Blood Drinkers Association and several other vampire-rights organizations are calling for Florida Governor DeSantis, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and state lawmakers to pass a bill outlawing the vampire conversion therapy until studies prove the procedure is safe. Until that happens, Dr. Koarski plans to keep curing vampires at his centers and he has plans to soon expand into four additional states.

“Our goal is to cure 100 vampires by the end of this year and 250 the year after that,” he declares.

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

If you enjoyed this supernatural news satire by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth, check out his new project…



In the two-part graphic novel Night Cage, vampires overrun a women’s prison–and to escape, four surviving inmates must fight their way through an army of the undead. Picture ‘Salem’s Lot meets Orange is the New Black.

Vampires take over a women’s prison in the spooky, steamy graphic novel Night Cage, Volume 2

The Best Female Vampire Images Ever!   Leave a comment

By C. Michael Forsyth

Fascinated by female vampires? I’ve scoured the Internet to dig up the sexiest, scariest, funniest and weirdest images of lady bloodsuckers. The night gallery below features 230 dazzling paintings, smoking-hot cosplayers, comic book cover art, movie stills and much more. Some of the artwork comes from legendary giants in the fantasy field, others from unknowns toiling in obscurity.

Wherever possible, I have credited the artist. One of my pet peeves is that people routinely post images on Pinterest and social media ostensibly celebrating artists–but without acknowledging them by name. In many cases, I had to use Google’s reverse image search to identify the source.

Please leave comments about which images you find most scintillating, disturbing, beautiful or intriguing. If you have additional information on a picture or would like to correct a gaffe, kindly share. And if you dig a piece, do visit the creator’s DeviantArt page or website to check out other work. If you are the artist or copywriter holder and don’t want the image displayed here, let me know and it will be removed. Plus, of course, feel free to suggest an addition to the gallery in the comment section.

By Emanuele Taglietti

Anticipation by SYOSHIKO on DeviantArt
By Dorian
Variant cover for VAMPIRELLA Vs PURGATORI #2 by Kael Ngu
Mother and Daughter by Mircalla-Tepez on DeviantArt
Anne Hathaway as vampire from photoshop contest hosted by
By Aly Fell
Vampires take over a women’s prison in this graphic novel. Kickstarter campaign currently underway!
Vampirella cover by Alex Ross
Model Mahafsoun by Lillianliuphotography
Art by Matt Dixon
By Lucio Parrillo for Vampirella #24
Ad for Sexy Bites Custom Vampire Fangs Created by Foothills Creation
Vampires by Jodi Muir
Aurai, an art print by Mark Molchan
Amy (Amanda Bearse) in full vampire mode in “Fright Night,” photo autographed by actress
Frank Frazetta cover for Vampirella
The Kiss By Victoria Frances
The Witcher 3 Gwent Card Art
By Lucio Parrillo
Frans Mensink’s cover for the graphic novel Night Cage about vampires in a women’s prison.

by Bill Pressing
by DemiGirl
Vampirella by Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell
BRITT NICHOLS as Luisa Karlstein in “Dracula’s Daughter”
by Aaron Sims
By Alex Horley
By Andrew Dobell
By Anna-Marine on DeviantArt
“Van Helsing” cosplayers Bellatrix Aiden as Marishka, Hanna Elladore as Aleera, Alexia Muller  as Verona.
Photo by Alex Botsman  
By Popius on DeviantArt
By· @queenofhades
By Anne Stokes
Vampire Lust by CountDracula on DeviantArt
By Carlos Valenzuela
By Clyde Caldwell
By Frans Mensink
Angelina Jolie envisioned as a vampire in submission to contest held by
Bathory by DarkSilverStudio
By Felicia Cano
By Didok80 on DeviantArt
By Bruce Timm
By Didok80 on DeviantArt
Arthur stakes Lucy in Greg Hildebrant’s illustration of “Dracula.”
Tyke from movie “30 Days of Night.”
Baobhan-Sith by Christy Leigh Stewart
Autumn Reeser as Nicole in “Lost Boys: the Tribe”
By Joe Jusko
By Reyna Rosa Sangrienta
By Zolaida on DeviantArt
By John Blumen
By John Wigley Wiggers123 on DeviantArt
By Jose Gonzelez Vampirella Door Poster
By Justin B. Long
By Leone Frollo
By Gothic Dark Lady
By IamUman on DeviantArt
By James Ryman
Hunter By M. Matiagi
By Luis Royo
By Jeremie Fleury
By M. Krome, cover art for Werewolves The Hunger
By Matt Dixon
By Lucio Parrillo
Mona Lisa By Mike Mayhew
By Nicholas Bournay
By NikkiFreaky on DeviantArt
By Pygar on DeviantArt
By Sam Briggs
By Boris Vallejo
By StressedJenny on DeviantArt
By Brian Baugh
By Tim Vigil
Angela Bassett in “The Vampire in Brooklyn.”
By Tom Bagshaw
By Ulamosart Ursa Minor #5 Wizard World Philly
By Victoria Frances
Blood Bairn by Ryan Yee for Magic the Gathering Game
By videogame creator Julz
By Enric Torres Prat
By Viona Ielegems
By Viona Ielegems
Queen of Vampires Yayashin on DeviantArt
By Vshen on DeviantArt
Dracula’s Brides by Carlos Valenzuala,
Carmilla by Tim Vigil
Carmilla for Radio Times by Debra McFarlane
Carmilla’s Oath by Claudia-SG on DeviantArt
Character Emily Briggs in Cover Art by Gulliem March for Looker Number 1
Claudia By Pat Mills
Corpse Bride by Gabi Spree
Created for Magic the Gathering Game by Itsfish3
By John Bolton
By MagicOfTheTiger on DeviantArt
By Cristina Martinez Queralt
Dark Queen Guinevere Vampire Queen Fantasy Art for LEGEND OF THE CRYPTIDS
By Dongho Kang
Earth-Vamps by Brian Bolland
Efrem Palacios Art used in Clan Mekhet book
Elvira by Patrick Finch
By Emanuele Taglietti
Erin Wasson in movie “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter”
Erinye by Lvcifera on DeviantArt
By Flavio Greco Paglia
Flossing Vampire By Anissa Espinoza
From Forsaken World, a popular free-to-play MMORPG from Perfect World Entertainment
Frank Frazetta’s poster art for the movie” From Dusk Till Dawn”
Freaky Vampire Digital Art by Silvio Schoisswohl
Free wallpaper from The Vampire Chicks
French Poster for “Dracula’s Daughter” (1936)
From graphic novel “30 Days of Night” by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith
From Adventure Time Comics #13
From the book “Hunters Hunted II”
From The Moonlight by KatLouchio on DeviantArt
From the movie “Lesbian Vampire Killers”
From the Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night by Davide Corsi
From Worth website
Geena Davis in “Transylvania 6-5000” (1985)
Goddess of Witches by Jiyeon Ryu
Ange Maya as Aleta in the film “The Empress Vampire”
Harpy-like flying vampires Marishka and Verona from “Van Helsing”
Helen of Destroy By DarkArt on Tumbler
Created by
Created by Instagram @moon_elodia, a Columbian artist
Miriam Giovanelli as Tania in Dario Argente’s “Dracula 3D”
Jaime Murray in “Fright Night 2”
Jannette from TV’s “Forever Knight”
Josie Maran as Marishka in ‘Van Helsing’
Model Josi Paula vamped up
Vampire puts the bite on Kate Kane Aka Batwoman in DC Comic.
Deborah Ann Woll as Jessica in HBO’s “True Blood”
By Koveck, a digital artist and illustrator based in Spain.
By Karla Ortiz
By kalli-schulz on DeviantArt
Kirsten Stewart as Bella in “Twilight.”
KRISTIN BAUER as Pam De Beaufort in “True Blood.”
Lady Death and Vampirella by Fiorasolotop on DeviantArt
Amanda Donohue in “Lair of the White Worm”
From Little Shop of Horrors by Bruce Timm
Lena Olin as Maharet in “Queen of the Damned” (2002)
Lilith, Mother of the Evil by Chtuluh2 on DeviantArt
Scene from “Lesbian Vampire Killers”
Lily by Arantza Sestayo
Lucy (Sadie Frost) claims a victim in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”
Love Bite by Daveed Benito
Lucy Pinder and friend in “Strippers Vs. Werewolves.”
By Luis Royo
Ingrid Pitt in “Lust for a Vampire”
Madame Violet the Vampire Queen, a sculpture by Christine Elfman made of plaster and paper mâché
Marceline the Vampire Queen By Kuramachan on DeviantArt
Matisse by 000Fesbra000 on DeviantArt
By Michael Park
By· @queenofhades
Model Courtney Stodden taken by Coleman-Raynor
Model Ashley Glorioso vamped out
Model Dani Divine photographed by Scott Chalmers
Publicity still of Monica Belluci as a Bride in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”
Needlework 5D Diy Diamond Painting Skull Vampire Diamond Mosaic Cross Stitch Picture Wall Painting on EtsyUK
Nik Guerra productions Lucifera and Vampirella for FANGSY FOLLY
On T-shirt sold by Magazine Luiza. Believed to be by Brazilian Artist Alexandre Salles
Ophelia Overdose by Miss Overdose
Painting of Yutte Stensgaard from “Lust for a Vampire” by Rick Melton
Parker Posey in “Blade Trinity”
Pearl Jones from American Vampire.
Photo by CalvinHollywood on 500PX
Photo by CalvinHollywood on 500PX
Photo by Rebeca Saray Gude on 500px
photo by vtytiev on Instagram
Poster for “Amityville Vampire” (2021)
Rihanna fanged and nude in GQ
Rhona Mitra as Sonja in “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans”
Rose by Mioree
Salma Hakek in “From Dusk TIll Dawn”
Sanjulian’s Cover for Deadwalk by Ron Goulart
by Emanuele Taglietti
Sister Janicha possessed by azzopardi666 on DeviantArt
Slaughterhouse by Klaudia Kotecka on ArtStation.
Sophie Turner of “Game of Thrones” cosplaying as vampire
Sukia, Italian comics series by Renzo Barbieri and Fulvio Bosttoli
Supermodel Adriana Lima with Vampire Fangs by TurlyVamp on DeviantArt
Tanya from Gothic Nights by Tim Vigil, colored by Neil Ruffino
Model on Tattoo website
Dracula’s brides including Monica Belluci feed on Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)
The comic book heroine Chastity
megan fox as vampire by kittievampire on DeviantArt (Leigh Leeloo Lawson)
The Deadly Departed by AvelinaDeMoray on DeviantArt
The French Lady Clan, Ventrue White Wolf’s Vampire The Requiem RPG WHITE WOLF PUBLISHING
The Howling, Revenge of the Werewolf Queen art by Jason Johnson, Milan Parvanov (Yes. as in the movie, the character is a werewolf, not a vampire, but she sure looks like one at this stage of transformation!)
The lovely ladies of “Van Helsing”
The Turning by Victoria Frances
The Vampire (1897) Phillip Burnes-Jones
European poster for “The Vampire Lovers” (1970)
The Vampire Tarot by Robert M. Place
By The Velvet Cartel
Valak the Demon Nun From The Conjuring universe by Georgina Lucey
Valerie Sharpe in “Dracula 2000”
Vamp Nadine by Serge Birault
Vampirella meets Buffy by Bruce Timm
Vampira Dark Goddess of Horror by Shayne of the Dead
Photo by Chazz Gold
Vampire from “30 Days of Night” By Aaron Sims
Vampire by Choe Heon Hwa
Vampire Fairy Demon by Takato Yamamoto
Vampire Mother by Jeff Jones
Vampire Queen by Christos Karapanos
From Vampire The Masquerade Dark Ages: Knights Of The Black Banner
Vampirella #2 by Stanley Artgerm Lau
Vampirella and Red Sonja (without her chainmail thong) by Lucio Parillo
Vampirella by Alex Ross (in tribute to Frank Frazetta)
Vampirella by Alex Ross
Vampirella by Stjepan Šejić
Amanda Bearse alluring vamp stage in “Fright Night”
By Gerado Justel
By Lucio Parrillo
By Mattia Tegon
By DemiGirl
By Bryan829 D on Drawcrowd
By Drazen Kozjan
Vintage Ad parody (Mad?)
By David Gaillet
Vampirella cover by Luis Parrillo
Vampirella By Lucio Parillo
Victoria Carlson in “Dracula has Risen from the Grave”
Vampirella cover
Vampirella Lust for Life by Bruce Timm
Disney Princess re-envisioned By Travis Falligrant on
European poster for “The Vampire Lovers.”
Aaliyah as Queen Akasha in “Queen of the Damned”
Veronica of the Archie fame turns vamp in Vampironica comic by Greg and Megan Smallwood
Dracula’s brides from the movie “Van Helsing”
Vampyros Lesbos by Jess Franco
Witch Monka, Devendra Dewan’s piece based on an Alex Horley drawing



In the graphic novel Night Cage, vampires slowly take over a women’s prison. Imagine ‘Salem’s Lot meets Orange is the New Black. 

Pick a Name for Trump’s Invasion of America!   Leave a comment

Invasion of U.S.

U.S. conquest of America should be a cakewalk, experts believe.

By. C. Michael Forsyth

WASHINGTON — President Donald J. Trump has threatened to send U.S. military troops to crush street protests in cities across America, but he has not yet come up with a catchy name for the invasion. And our Commander in Chief needs YOUR help!

Selecting an upbeat name is key to generating public enthusiasm for a military operation, experts say. Operation Desert Storm,  in which American forces liberated Kuwait from the grip of dictator Saddam Hussein in 1990, boosted the popularity of President George Herbert Walker Bush and ranks high on a list of “The 10 Greatest Military Operation Names” compiled by Military.Com

“A desert storm is created by wind and sand. It’s sudden, ruthless and incredibly disorienting,” the experts note. “Not to take away from the men and women who have fought the War on Terror, but Operation Iraqi Freedom doesn’t have the same unforgettable fury as a Desert Storm.”


Tough-as-nails Commander in Chief Donald Trump is prepared to dictate the course of the war from his newly inspected bunker.



President Ronald Reagan’s invasion of the resort island of Grenada in 1983 might not have been entirely necessary, but the mission’s name Operation Urgent Fury helped to get Americans excited about the quick and easy victory.

“The name was one of the best,” the experts observe. “Operation Urgent Fury sounds like the title of a movie that would pair Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme as grizzled special ops leaders who join forces to put down the Sandinistas once and for all. “

By contrast, a poorly thought-out name often leads to disappointing results. Operation Barbarossa, Adolf Hitler’s ill-fated invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II, was jinxed from the start, with an uninspiring name that referenced an obscure historical figure.

“Barbarossa is Italian for ‘Red Beard,'” according to Military. Com. “Frederick I was a [red-bearded] king of Germany who became Holy Roman Emperor in 1155. A great military leader and charismatic ruler, Frederick died in Asia Minor while leading the Third Crusade.”

Operation Barabossa

Adolf Hitler’s “Operation Barbarossa” is considered one of the worst blunders in military history as well as one of the worst names.


Some possible names have been run up the flagpole for Trump’s invasion of America: Operation American Freedom, Operation Make America Great Again, Operation Huge Success, Operation White Lives Matter and Operation Totally Constitutional.

However, some marketing gurus believe the President will stick with his proven brand and simply dub the attack Operation Trump, or use the opportunity to salute his daughter Ivanka by calling it Operation Who’s Your Daddy?

Can you come up with the perfect name for the invasion? If so leave it in the comment section below and we will forward the most promising suggestions to the White House.


Posted June 4, 2020 by C. Michael Forsyth in Uncategorized

20 Questions with Director of “The Death Pledge.”   Leave a comment

Death Pledge PosterBy C. Michael Forsyth

     After an earthquake uncovers a forgotten African-American burial ground, a group of pledges to fraternities and sororities at a historically black college must spend the night there as part of the hazing process.  What could possibly go wrong? Plenty, as the unlucky students discover that the vengeful, resurrected corpse of a murdered slave is on the loose—hell-bent on butchering them!

That is the premise of The Death Pledge, a new microbudget feature written, produced and directed by sci-fi writer and filmmaker Jeff Carroll, who also appears in the movie. I asked Florida-based Carroll 20 questions about the creative process and the challenges of making a film on a shoot-string budget. (View the trailer here).

  1. What inspired the story? My initial inspiration came from the discovery of the African burial ground under Wall Street in 1991.  I also took inspiration from the 1981 movie Hell Night starring Linda Blair.
  2. Your serial-killing supernatural monster Baba is a tragic figure, the ghost of a slave-boxer with a sympathetic backstory. What gave you the idea for this character? I was inspired by Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) and his visible presence, but the backstory of Baba was inspired by real boxers like Tom Molineaux. I also combined the boxing history with the process of slave breeding and the use of African males as “bucks.” I gave Baba a mask because I wanted Black youth to have a masked killer they could cosplay. I made the fighting system like WWE pro wrestling.
  3. Baba’s mask is strikingly different from Jason’s. What went into the design and who created it? I gave the colors red, black and green and a few West African mask ideas to my special-effects person Omar Sfreddo. Omar gave me a few options and I choose one that wasn’t exactly like a real African mask.

    Death Pledge Jeff with Baba

    Jeff Carroll directs his supernatural villain Baba.

  4. The character is reminiscent of Candyman, who had also been a cruelly abused slave in life. Was that a source of inspiration? Candyman was an anti-source. I have never liked Candyman as a character. I wanted to create a character who was Black but a masked monster like Jason and Michael Myers (Halloween).
  5. Honoring our ancestors is a major theme in the movie. Why did you weave that into the plot? In my heart, I am an Afrofuturist and when I saw all of these African burial grounds being discovered, the first thing I thought was I hope people respect the people buried there. The original tagline was “If you don’t respect the dead, the dead won’t respect you.” I frequently use fear to plant seeds for cautious behavior.
  6. You have a large cast of young people. Were these college students? How did you recruit them? What were the advantages of having such a large cast at your disposal and what were the challenges? This was my first movie in ten years and I took a lot of time putting together the shooting schedule. The schedule allowed me to manage the cast easier. I shot the movie during the Christmas holiday and most of the cast came from two colleges. The fact that they were college students allowed me as a director to shape them the way I wanted them. I found my cast in a variety of ways. They came from the schools and from casting calls I put out.

    Death Pledge cast

    The ambitious microbudget film boasts a large cast.

  7. Did you go to film school? If not, what training or background prepared you for making this film? I worked in New York in television and film for fifteen years. I took screenwriting classes at Gotham Writers Academy in New York and acting classes with Tracey Moore Marable.
  8. You incorporated illustrations in an ingenious way for a scene in which the students try to spook each other with scary tales. Why did you make this choice and what went into the creation of that artwork? When I wrote the storytelling scene, I used stories that were already comic book illustrations. I was inspired by movies like 300 and Sin City (originally graphic novels).
  9. What was your budget? I shot The Death Pledge with a budget under $50K.
  10. You ran a crowdsourcing campaign. How successful was it, how much did it raise and what advice would you give filmmakers who are thinking about using crowdsourcing to fund their films? I did a GoFundMe and I raised around $1,000. I didn’t do a Kickstarter because they make you set a goal and if you don’t reach it, you don’t get your money.
  11. What were your other sources of financing? I finance my films mostly from savings. The Death Pledge was the first time I took money from investors. I have a cousin who wants to get into film financing, so I took some money from him.
  12. If you had a bigger budget, what would you have done differently? I would have improved Baba’s costume. I would have added more special effects and tricked out the editing. And depending on the money, I would have tried for an A-list actor and some B-list actors.

    Death Pledge students marching

    Pledges are blind to the peril awaiting them in the old graveyard.

  13. What were some of the choices you made due to your budget limitations? The shooting schedule was the first thing that was affected. We shot in four days. It was tight and it rained two of the four days! I would have expanded the shooting schedule more but with fifteen cast members, each day was expensive.
  14. Why did you decide to make a roughly 90-minute feature film instead of a short? I wanted to put the film out into the commercial market and shorts don’t make the money that features make.
  15. How did you approach distributors? I flew out to the American Film Market in LA and had meetings with a few distributors. I also went to Walmart and hit up every distributor with a film on the shelf.
  16. A microbudget means a skeleton crew. How big was yours? I had a crew of about eight or nine people.
  17. You shot some scenes using day for night. What were the challenges of doing that? We found a location that had a thick canopy. The trees blocked out most of the bright Florida sun. That said, I wouldn’t shoot day to night again!

    Death Pledge Jeff costumes

    With a larger budget, Carroll says he would have spent more on costumes

  18. Instead of squibs, you used an after-effect to create the illusion of blood splurting from the victims. Why did you choose that and how was it achieved? I took influence from Nollywood movies [Nigerian] for that special effect.
  19. What is your next film project? I just finished shooting the second and third films in the Death Pledge series, Conjuring Baba and The Black Nun.
  20. What have you learned from making this movie that you brought to the sequels? The Death Pledge was my first time directing a feature. Directing The Death Pledge strengthened my confidence as a director.

Here’s where you can check out all of Jeff Carroll’s films  and his weekly blog.

C. Michael is the author the historical thriller Houdini vs. RasputinBasic RGB


Posted March 18, 2020 by C. Michael Forsyth in Uncategorized

Houdini Battles Rasputin in New Thriller   1 comment

Basic RGBTwo of the most extraordinary men who ever lived clash in the thrilling novel Houdini vs. Rasputin, set in Tsarist Russia. While performing before Tsar Nicholas II, the world’s greatest escape artist Harry Houdini becomes pitted against a formidable foe: Rasputin, the powerful and sinister mystic. Rasputin has made puppets of the Tsar and his wife Alexandra. To save the nation from ruin, a small band of patriots recruits Houdini to expose the imperial “spiritual advisor” as a charlatan. Houdini wages an epic battle of wits and wills with the charismatic fiend.

The American magician’s daring and ingenuity are put to the test in an adventure that takes him from the grand palaces of St. Petersburg to the frigid wastelands of Siberia. Along the way, Houdini makes allies and enemies of a host of real-life figures, including the mischievous imp Princess Anastasia, the colossal former boxer and royal bodyguard Jim Hercules and the Black Sisters, practitioners of the occult who scheme to use Rasputin for their own ends. Meticulous research brings these people and the Russia of the early 1900s to life.

Rasputin female followers

Rasputin with his bevy of fanatical female followersl.

Rasputin is one of history’s most fascinating villains, at once a barely literate Siberian peasant and a Nietzschean superman, a Christ-figure to his followers and the Antichrist to his foes, a faith healer and a debaucher of enormous sexual appetites. He has at his disposal an army of goons, femme fatales, Gypsies, hypnotized assassins and fanatical members of the mysterious Khlysty cult. However, Rasputin’s greatest strength is his own extraordinary personal magnetism. Gathered around him is a circle of female devotees known as the Little Ladies. To help Houdini bring Rasputin down, the magician’s feisty wife Bess infiltrates this coven.

Houdini wheel

A still from the Houdini movie serial Haldane of the Secret Service.

As in Houdini’s movie serials, he escapes from one peril after another: buried alive under six feet of snow; trapped in a burning barn by Rasputin’s henchmen; chained to a rack in the medieval torture chamber of Ivan the Terrible. The pace steadily accelerates until Harry’s final confrontation with his nemesis on a frozen river. Houdini did in fact perform for the Tsar and Rasputin did arrive in the capital that same year. Many real events are incorporated into this work of fiction.  If you enjoy stories packed with mystery and adventure, blending history with fantasy, check out this book!

Posted November 30, 2018 by C. Michael Forsyth in Uncategorized

Bram Stoker Battles Vampires in “Dracul.”   Leave a comment

DraculBy C. Michael Forsyth

Dracul, by J.D. Barker and Dacre Stoker, is an instant classic, the best vampire novel I’ve read since Interview with the Vampire. Its premise is that in his youth, Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, actually went toe-to-toe with the fiendish bloodsucker. The novel is genuinely scary, exciting and enriched by meticulous research that vividly recreates the 19th century Ireland of young Bram Stoker.

We first meet Bram as a chronically ill, bedridden lad in Dublin. He and his siblings are cared for by a peculiar young nanny named Ellen Crone, who keeps Bram alive by mysterious late-night ministrations. Bram and his spunky sister Matilda begin to investigate their enigmatic live-in servant, who is prone to dead-of-night outings and unexplained absences, but after a rash of brutal murders takes place nearby, Ellen abruptly vanishes. Years later, when Bram is 21, he, Matilda and their brother Thornley are forced to confront the evil that Ellen brought into their home and do battle with the undead.

Bram Stoker

BRAM STOKER, author of Dracula, suffered an unexplained illness as a boy.

Dacre Stoker, Bram’s great-grandnephew, has devoted more than a decade to researching his famous forebear. He travels the world giving presentations on the fascinating facts from he has gleaned from family documents, letters, journals and other sources. In Dacre’s research, he stumbled across an obscure Icelandic edition of Dracula that is quite different from the book we know. In its preface, Bram makes the astonishing claim that Dracula is not a work of fiction, but of fact. That intriguing suggestion fired up Dacre’s imagination. What if Dracula was intended as a warning to the world? Later, he and Barker got a rare glimpse at the original typescript of Dracula with markings and notes indicating that 102 pages had been cut from the opening of the manuscript. This material became fodder for their prequel.

Dacre and J.D. Barker

Dacre Stoker with co-author J.D. Barker

I’ve had the pleasure of attending one of Dacre Stoker’s presentations on Bram, so it doesn’t surprise me that Dracul contains rich and accurate descriptions of the Stoker family members, their home and its surroundings. What I didn’t expect was an engaging mystery, which Bram and his siblings unravel, gradually learning Ellen’s true identity and motivations. One of the great delights of the book comes when we finally hear Ellen Crone’s back story, a tale within a tale that has the flavor of an Irish folktale. Plus, at the heart of the novel—and you’ll find this turns out to be literal—there is a grand love story that spans centuries. (And nope, it’s not Drac pining for a reincarnation of his lost love).

The book is faithful to Dracula, even borrowing the epistolary format much of the story told through the interwoven journals and letters of Bram and his siblings. A challenge of this approach is to make each character’s voice distinct. I’m not sure the authors entirely pull that off, but the writing is lovely, in the gothic style of the era in which the novel is set.

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey, on the Yorkshire coast, is a setting for a critical scene in Dracul.

The supernatural rules line up with vampire lore established in popular culture, yet the authors avoid the usual tropes. Startling visuals help the story feel fresh, for example, when Ellen descends deep into a bog under the moonlight or when a heart in a lab jar abruptly starts beating. Often, we’re baffled as to what is going on—in a good way. We have the same sense that we are dealing with the unfamiliar as did the earliest readers of Dracula. (“He’s scuttling down the castle wall like a spider? What the bloody hell?”) The authors also draw upon esoteric vampire lore that rarely shows up in movies. Most notably, the folkloric belief that suicides may return from the grave as vampires is put to good use.

Vambery portrait

Arminius Vambery is the “Van Helsing” of Dracul.

Bram and his siblings are aided by a seasoned supernatural sleuth, a worthy predecessor to Dr. Van Helsing yet a quite different type of man. The authors made the inspired choice of recruiting a real-life figure, Arminius Vámbéry, a Hungarian traveler, Turkologist and dabbler in the occult. A far cry from the priestly old Dr. Van Helsing, he is a member of the notorious Hellfire Club, a seeker of sensation and forbidden knowledge, not unlike Dorian Gray in TV’s Penny Dreadful. A man who has seen and done too many things.

Armin Vambery

World-traveler Vambery dons a Dervish outfit for one of his adventures.

Dacre Stoker’s previously co-authored Dracula: The Un-Dead, a sequel to Dracula. Though a highly entertaining novel, it was not as true to Bram’s creation as the current work. It presented Dracula as he likely saw himself: a romantic, misunderstood Byronic figure not unlike the dreamy hunk Frank Langella played in the 1979 movie.
Langella Dracula

In Dracul, this IS your great-granduncle’s Dracula. I believe that if Vlad the Impaler really were vampirized this is what he would be like: monstrously cruel and tyrannical. He is even more of a badass than in the original novel, inflicting a form of torture on one character that can only be described as epic. In Dracula, Bram only vaguely alludes to the historical 15th century Vlad Tepes, and we never learn exactly how Vlad went from warlord to vampire. In Dracul, the authors connect the dots in a plausible way.

Vlad the impaler full

Take-no-prisoners warlord Vlad the Impaler 

Vampire fans will be thrilled by the many Easter eggs, such as scenes set at Whitby Abbey, a locale that featured prominently in Dracula. There is a cameo appearance by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, author of the classic vampire tale Carmilla. The climax of the novel takes place in a “city of the dead” in Germany populated entirely by vampires. Presumably this was inspired by the vampiric ghost town in Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1932 German-language film Vampyr. (That movie, every bit as creepy as the silent film Nosferatu, was based on a story by Le Fanu, by the way.)

All in all, I give Dracul an enthusiastic five-stake rating.


THE final showdown in Dracul takes place in a city of the dead similar to the one in the 1932 film Vampyr.



Vampires run amok in a women’s prison in the gorgeously illustrated, 80-page graphic novel Night Cage. When a newly made vampire is sentenced to an escape-proof, underground slammer, she quickly begins to spread the contagion.

Take a Dangerous Dive into “The Quarry.”   Leave a comment

The Quarry Cover

By C. Michael Forsyth

I was delighted to recently learn that fellow horror writer Mark Allan Gunnells lives in Greer, South Carolina, a stone’s throw away from my home in Greenville. What’s more, I discovered, one of his novels is set at the very real Limestone College, 1.8 miles from my door! Intrigued, I immediately downloaded it onto my Kindle.

I wasn’t disappointed. The Quarry is a well-crafted, chilling tale, especially impressive because this was the author’s first novel.

The story centers around Lake Limestone, a former quarry and limestone mine near the campus that was flooded decades ago in the 1950s—deliberately, it turns out, by miners who encountered something horrible there. In the present day, the lake is tranquil and idyllic. That’s until a thrill-seeking jock named Dale gets the bright idea of scuba diving to the bottom in the dead of night. He awakens an ancient evil lurking deep beneath the waters and becomes possessed by it. As Dale undergoes a horrific transformation, his best friend and roommate Emilio tries to save him, while trying to unravel the secret of the Quarry.

Though thoroughly modern in its depiction of college life, the story is in the classic horror tradition. In fact, it reminds me of the 1950s flicks my sister and I used watch on TV every Saturday night as kids. Dale’s struggle against his curse is reminiscent of Teenage Werewolf and The Amazing Colossal Man, in which a decent chap becomes monstrous through no fault of his own.

The Amazing Colossal Man

In the 1957 film The Amazing Colossal Man,  exposure to atomic radiation causes a man to grow 60 feet tall.


Gunnels has a sophisticated writing style, with lines such as “Like liquid darkness, the lake enveloped him.” When the increasingly sinister Dale laughs, the sound is “like rocks scraping the bottom of a muddy lake bed.” The author milks the inherent creepiness of certain campus locations for all they’re worth, such as the gloomy basement room that houses the laundry machines, dubbed the Dungeon by students. He often creates suspense by withholding information from the readers, leaving them to uneasily ponder what might be coming next. It’s quite far into the story before we find out the exact nature of the menace in the lake—and believe me, it’s far from what you’d expect. Emilio is also nursing a secret of his own.

An enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to checking out the sequel, The Cult of Ocasta.

C. Michael Forsyth is the author of the horror novel Hour of the Beast.


$275 JEANS ARE ALL HOLES, NO FABRIC   Leave a comment


Bottomless cropped

HIGH END jeans are made entirely of holes.

By C. Michael Forsyth


Holy moly! A denim company is selling designer jeans that are all holes, no fabric — for a whopping $275!

The spanking new No Holes Barred Jeans have been flying off the shelves since they went on sale on Monday, with chic millennials shelling out big bucks for a chance to wiggle into the trendy designer duds.

“Uber-ripped denim is the hottest fashion trend of 2018, and this is the ultimate extension of the fad,” explains fashion guru and podcaster Carrie Jasperkind. “It’s a playful and sexy look that thumbs its nose at societal norms. To today’s young women, rips signify rebellion. They are both a political statement and a fashion statement.”


Kim Kardasian ripped jeans


While deliberately ripped jeans date back to the Punk Rock era, the trend has resurfaced with a vengeance in recent years, popularized by major celebrities ranging from Jennifer Aniston to Kim Kardashian. The size of the holes has steadily grown, from slight gaps at the knees to cutouts that now expose large expanses of bare calves, thighs and buttocks.


The head-turning No Holes Barred Jeans, sometimes referred to as “invisible jeans,” have been on the market in France and Italy since February.

“They’re very popular in Paris,” confirmed restaurant owner Jean-Claude Archambeau. “You look through the window and you’ll see a gaggle of girls crossing the street in those pants. At first, they caused many minor car accidents, but people are getting used to them.”

While $275 may sound like a bundle to pay for jeans, there’s a reason why No Holes Barred Jeans cost more than most blue jeans that actually have material.

“The manufacturing process takes far longer for ripped jeans than ordinary jeans, and our technique is particularly labor intense,” explained George Nerkham, CEO of No Hold Barred Jeans. “Jeans are very sturdy by design. To create rips, most companies use machines to sandblast the denim or burn holes using laser devices. High end brands like ours use hand ripping exclusively, which is better for the environment.

“Each pair of No Holes Barred Jeans has been painstakingly ripped by hand by a skilled artisan who uses only sheers and a fabric picker. To individually rip and finish a pair, removing every bit of fabric, can take several hours.”


Carmar denim extreme cutout jeans $168

These “Extreme Cut-Out Jeans” from Carmar Denim, which sell for $168, are more costly to manufacture than non-ripped jeans.


While the pricey jeans may soon grace the derrieres of millions of American college students, models and Hollywood starlets, experts say they may be frowned upon in offices. And most high school students had better think twice before donning a pair, educators warn.

“This sounds like a violations of our dress code,” said a high school principal in Greenville, South Carolina. “We don’t allow holes above the knee.”

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

If you enjoyed this whimsical story by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth, check out his upcoming project:


Vampires take over a women’s prison in this graphic novel. A Kickstarter is underway right now!



By C. Michael Forsyth

The ongoing battle between the NRA and high schoolers may soon be over. A new compromise has been proposed that would allow shooting inside school buildings, but only with a special license and during a specified season.

“I think that people of good conscience can come together on this issue,” says moderate Neil Gradeaker, founder of the #letsmeethalfway movement. “Young anti-gun activists want schools to be gun-free zones. The NRA wants many people in schools to have guns. The license idea splits it down the middle.”

According to the compromise measure, anyone could apply for a special permit to discharge a firearm within a school building, just as many citizens now obtain hunting licenses. While it’s expected that primarily teachers, coaches, school nurses, janitors and lunch ladies would get the licenses, parents, former students and other visitors who might hope to be the “good guy with the gun” would also be eligible.

“The only current students who would be eligible are seniors who have demonstrated responsibility, have no record of misbehavior and have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or higher,” Gradeaker reveals. “The season would begin in mid-October, when students have had time to settle in and run through early April.”

Gradeaker came up with the middle-of-the-road approach because he was tired of seeing his Facebook friends argue back and forth about gun control.

“It always came down to, ‘You’re stupid,’ ‘No, YOU’RE stupid!’” he explains.

Not everyone agrees that the compromise is a good idea.

“Having a ‘hunting season’ for school shooters is not the solution,” fumed one teenage gun-control activist.

Some Second Amendment crusaders are also taking potshots at the proposal.

“Gun owners shouldn’t need a special license to protect kids on school property,” one declared. “And who’s supposed to protect them before the season begins and after it ends?”

Elmer fudd

Beloved cartoon hunter Elmer Fudd

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth


If you appreciated this news satire by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth, check out his new project…



In the graphic novel Night Cage, vampires overrun a women’s prison–and to escape, four surviving inmates must fight their way through an army of the undead. Picture ‘Salem’s Lot meets Orange is the New Black.

Vampires take over a women’s prison in the spooky, steamy graphic novel Night Cage, Volume 2

If you enjoyed this news satire by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth, check out his collection of incredible stories, available on Kindle and in other eBook formats.

Bizarre News Cover 5

Meji, a Sword & Sorcery Adventure in Africa   1 comment



In Meji, Book One, the epic adventure story of two brother begins.


By C. Michael Forsyth

Meji, by Milton J. Davis, is a powerful novel packed with human drama and pulse-pounding action that vividly recreates the glorious kingdoms of long-ago Africa. It is heartbreaking that the book, available at MVmedia, hasn’t received the attention it deserves, and that most African-Americans have never heard of it, because it’s on a par with many Pulitzer-prize-winning novels such as The Color Purple.

The saga begins at a moment of high drama when the Great Wife of the king of the Sesu people struggles to give birth. Her twin sons survive, but in their society, twins are considered an abominations — and must die. From the first scene in which the boys’ father bargains for their lives with the chief shaman, the drama steadily intensifies, the conflicts mount, the stakes keep rising, page after page and chapter after chapter. Separated soon after birth, the “cursed” twins Ndoro and Obaseki are raised in radically different civilizations and bound for very different destinies, one to become a legendary warrior, the other a powerful sorcerer.

Interwoven with this main story line are subplots involving characters from several kingdoms with distinct cultures: mighty warriors, noble kings, medicine priests, queens who, through craftiness and seduction, are the powers behind the throne. Like Game of Thrones, the point of view shifts between characters from chapter to chapter. As in that popular series, court intrigue figures prominently as dynasties wrestle for dominance. There’s as much backstabbing as there are exciting battles.



Author Milton J. Davis

The story takes place on the continent of “Uhuru” and the kingdoms are fictitious. But the world is clearly the product of years of research into every aspect of African culture in late medieval times — the political systems, the religious beliefs, the trade, the weapons, the clothing. The author’s sure-footed descriptions of these things always ring true. Yet one never feels overwhelmed by detail. There isn’t a wasted word or wasted scene, no fat, just all lean muscle. The pace is fast, often exhilarating.


In one riveting sequence, young Nboro accompanies the veteran warrior Shange on a cattle raid. As I read, it struck me that this was as realistic, well-told and moving as the soldiers’ trek in Norman Mailer’s classic war novel The Naked and the Dead. But unlike Mailer, who served in World War II, Davis never experienced a cattle raid, nor could he have dug up all the needed details in any book. The scenes are written with the authority of someone who has immersed himself so thoroughly in research that he can extrapolate from it to build an entirely believable world.

One critical ingredient of great fiction is that the heroes are flawed and the antagonists are fully realized humans, not flat stereotypical villains. That’s the case there. One key character betrays his king and family, but in the chapter that leads up to that fateful decision, sympathy is built up for the character and we fully understand his actions.

Davis’s writing style lives up to his storytelling and the dialogue is highly memorable. Each character has a distinct voice.

“I am no demon,” Ndoro tells Shange at one point. To which the warrior responds, “That is the thing about demons. A Sesu does not know if he has one inside him. I think all men do. It is what makes us brave and gives us strength.”

I was delighted to hear that the book will be soon be-released in a single volume with Meji, Book Two in a single volume. Hopefully this time at bat, the book will get the attention it merits.

%d bloggers like this: